Monday, November 26, 2012

DAY 96- Texas Rangers & Dr. Pepper...

It was my last day in Dallas and I was kind of dragging my feet.  It was while I was at breakfast that I talked with a guy visiting from California that I discovered that there was a Federal Reserve that printed paper money in Fort Worth but it was only open on weekdays; and today was Saturday. Darn!  That would’ve been fun to go to.  I guess I’ll have to try that when I’m in Washington DC.

So just minutes before the checkout time at the hotel, I was on my way to find Rudy’s in Arlington, TX which is about 40 minutes southwest of downtown Dallas.  Rudy’s is a Texas BBQ place that came highly recommended from several native Texans.  I pulled up to a place.  There were pickup trucks and trucks pulled up out front with Rudy’s BBQ logo on their sides.  It looked more like a gas station/ convenience store. I had been told to expect this but still I’m thinking this is a restaurant?  Another couple of pickups pulled into stalls next to me and started to walk right in.  Okay, here goes!
Photo from website- Texas BBQ place that looks like a gas station?

I went into a front area which looked like a basic convenience store on one side.  The other side had picnic tables covered with red and white checked table cloths.  I followed the group back to a long counter area in the back corner.  Above the counter was the menu.  I had been told to try their brisket and told that it was like dessert.  There was a choice of moist brisket or lean and then it went by the half-pound or pound.  I choose a half pound moist with a side of potato salad and a soda.

The potato salad was in a Styrofoam covered cup and the brisket was put on wax paper.  It was all then put on a black plastic square framed that looked like it was used to hold pop bottles at a factory.  In fact, there was a Dr. Pepper logo imprinted on it.  I carried the tray over filled up my soda at the fountain area and then proceeded to find utensils and what not.  I sat down at the table near a square wooden box that had salt, pepper, and two bottles of BBQ sauce.  One of the bottles said Rudy’s BBQ sauce; the other said Sissy sauce.  It was no surprise that the Sissy sauce was fuller of the two.

I put just a bit of the Rudy’s sauce on the brisket, cut into the brisket, and took my first bite.  OMG!  I have to agree that this brisket was dessert.  It was that good.  While I ate the place started to fill up and I could see why.  I was glad that I got there early for lunch.  And oh, by the way Rudy’s does ship around the country.

Next, I was back on the road heading south to Waco, TX.  I know the town in Texas that has a bad rep from a standoff between Federal agents and a religious compound.  But there’s more to Waco than that bad history.  But there were a couple of places that I was visiting there.
Photo- Roads? Texans don't need roads!

But on the way to Waco, I experienced some heavy traffic due to construction and learned how Texans deal with such instances.  Some of them take their trucks or other vehicles and drive down the side off the interstate to the next road and on they go.  I watched one guy in a four wheel pickup truck drive back and forth a couple of times between the frontage road and the interstate trying to get ahead.  I thought to myself why does he even bother with the road.  I’m surprised he isn’t whipping through someone’s field.

Photo- Sign outside Texas Ranger Museum.
Two and half hours later, I happily exited off the interstate in the town of Waco.  Just off of the interstate, I pulled into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum.  I thought I had to check this out when I saw it on-line earlier in the morning as I was checking the Dr. Pepper Museum address.  I pulled up to a series of long low stone and timber structures with a sign out front and several statues of cowboys with guns and horses.  I went in and paid the $7.  The gal said that the next film was at 3:30PM in about an hour.  I asked how long the film was and she said,” 45 minutes. We took all the commercials out.”  I asked her how late the Dr. Pepper Museum said open and she said that they admitted the last person at 4:15PM.  I told her I probably wouldn’t catch the film then.  She said that was alright there were plenty of other things to see.
Photo- Inside the Texas Ranger's Museum.

I walked into a large room where a figure on a horse with a sign that read Established in 1823.  Yes, the Texas Rangers have been operating a long time.  They first started out as protection for settlers in the Texas territory from Indian raids.  Some of them even worked a side line gig as surveyors in that time because they were able to protect themselves as well as survey the land.  In 1874, a Special Forces section of the Texas Rangers was formed to tame the lawlessness along the Mexican border. 
Photo- Photos, guns, and saddles on display in the Texas Ranger Museum.

As Texas, got more and more civilized and became a state the duties of the Texas Rangers changed some more.  They were dealing with a variety of situations such as civil unrest, labor strikes, Ku Klux Klan activity, political corruption, Bootlegging and Gambling, and other situations due to the Oil Boom.  It was interesting learning about the history of the famous Texas Rangers.  There were a lot of glass cases with guns; as to be expected.  There was also a great deal of prominent figures in the Texas Rangers that were pictured and had some of their items on display. 

A whole area talked about the history of the Texas Rangers in fighting crime.  A posse of Rangers took down the famous duo of Bonnie and Clyde. Another room was dedicated to Texas Rangers on the Silver Screen.  There were posters with Tommy Lee Jones and Chuck Norris among the gamut.  In the Hall of Fame room there were photos that looked like current photos of Texas Rangers and they were divided up into different companies A through to F.   It was interesting learning about Texas Rangers.

Because of the construction in the area I ended up going back on the interstate taking the next exit to the north and then getting back on the interstate going south; all so I can cross the interstate.  It was construction at its best.  I managed to find the Dr. Pepper Museum and parked in the parking lot across the street.
Photo- An old soda fountain bar at the Dr. Pepper Museum.

I was rather pumped to visit this museum because I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Pepper.  I paid the entrance fee and walked into a room that looked like an old soda fountain store.  Dr. Pepper started out from a drug store in Waco, TX and created by a pharmacist Charles Alderton.  He created the formula with 23 flavors that became known as Dr. Pepper.  In 1885 the formula was patented.  It took off from there.  Most of the first floor had some of the history and bottling equipment that was used in the early manufacturing of Dr. Pepper.  There were videos about the bottling and now canning of Dr. Pepper soda that you could watch which was interesting.
Photo- Commercials playing on the second floor.  Fun watching these!

The second floor of the museum I thought was the most interesting.  It contained most of the advertising memorabilia of Dr. Pepper.  In fact, there was a TV area where you could watch and listen to older commercials.  It was divided up into generations.  The earlier commercials were on the radio and they showed pictures of advertisements on the screen while the radio commercials played.  Later on, there were actual TV commercials.  It was fun watching the older and some of the more current commercials.
Photo- The 3rd floor dedicated to W.W. "Foots" Clement known as Mr. Dr. Pepper.

The third floor of the museum was dedicated to Woodrow Wilson “Foots” Clement who made Dr. Pepper the international brand that it is today.  He started as a route salesman for Dr. Pepper and rose through the ranks to President, CEO, and Chairman.  Next, I took the elevator down to the first floor and went in the gift shop.  There was an older southern couple debating about buying some of the Dr. Pepper syrup while I browsed through the shop.  They were still debating as I bought a couple of postcards and a bumper sticker.

Next, it was the drive on to Austin where it was construction and traffic and traffic and more traffic.  Is this construction season for Texas?  I was really starting to wonder.  I found my hotel just off of the interstate and decided no more driving for the day.  I had dinner in the hotel bar and watched Notre Dame win.

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